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This poem is taken from PN Review 123, Volume 25 Number 1, September - October 1998.

Four Poems Helen Farish

The Convent Half Hour

That half hour we have it's like
something wild running
to the delicate edge of earshot in months
when light is translucent
as a well-strained jelly.

We live by the clock and the bell but that half hour
lasts longer than the yellow smell of hayfields,
longer than doubt and I suspect
God loves what we call ours
more than what we have named his:

more than hems soaking up matins dew,
more than jams and hand-made cards,
courgettes, pears and the chapel flowers;
more than bread rising, hymn choosing and the worship
so minutely prepared.

Thirty minutes for angels to guard,

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